James Turrell Skyspace at Pomona College

James Turrell, “Skyspace.” 2007. Courtesy Pomona College and Museum of Art.

Pomona College alumnus James Turrell (Season 1) has produced a Skyspace for his alma mater in the Draper Courtyard of the campus, realized in collaboration with consulting architects Marmol Radziner + Associates AIA. It is the first Skyspace regularly accessible to the public in Southern California.

Skyspace takes the form of an architectural optical illusion that heightens the viewer’s perception of light and space, whereby a seemingly paper-thin ceiling opens a rectangular frame “into” the sky above. For Pomona, Turrell has created an artificial transitioning keyed to sunrise and sunset using a floating metal canopy with sensors programmed to change in intensity and hue on the underside. Directly beneath, a shallow pool echoes the changing light and time.

Turrell studied mathematics and perceptual psychology at Pomona in the early 1980s. Appropriately, the new Skyspace is situated among the buildings housing the academic disciplines related to the science of mind –psychology, neuroscience and cognitive science– as well as the earth sciences of geology and environmental analysis.

In addition to the new Skyspace, the Pomona College Museum of Art is presenting James Turrell at Pomona College, an exhibition uniting the various threads of Turrell’s artistic practice. The exhibition continues through May 17, 2008. For further information, please visit www.pomona.edu/museum.


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  2. Frederick Gallegos says:

    The James Turrell exhibit at Pomona College Museum of Art will end May 17, 2008. The museum since the exhibit opened September 4th, 2007 has had more than 10,000 visitors. After May 17th both the Ganzfeld “End Around” Room, the Tall Glass Pieces and a sample of his Models will be gone. Don’t miss the opportunity as others have to see this excellent exhibit and his brillant use of light upon objects and space. At least his SkySpace Exhibit will be a permanent fixture on campus. The Museum of Art at their website has a wonderful powerpoint tutorial on SkySpace narrated by the Museum Director. Also, there was an outstanding article in the LA Times about both exhibits currently there (LA Times 5/2/2008).

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